Former BYU star Shaylee Gonzales is heading to the Big 12 – with Texas

BYU Cougars guard Shaylee Gonzales (2) drives between San Francisco Dons guard Abby Rathbun (55) and San Francisco Dons guard Amalie Langer (5) on her way into the paint as BYU and San Francisco play in the semifinals of the basketball tournament -ball of the West Coast Conference at Orleans Arena in Las Vegas on Monday, March 8, 2021. BYU won 85-55. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)

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PROVO — Most of BYU’s sports programs are still a year away from joining the Big 12 Conference.

A star basketball player hits the road a year early.

Shaylee Gonzales, the sophomore and two-time West Coast Conference Player of the Year, announced her transfer commitment to Texas on Monday after her former BYU coach pulled out of the program.

The 5-foot-10 star from Gilbert, Arizona, averaged 18.3 points, 5.9 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 2.3 steals per game en route to second-team All-American honors by The Athletic and Associated Press All-American honorable mention.

Gonzales, who ranks No. 10 all-time in BYU history with 1,555 career points, led the Cougars in scoring en route to a historic season in Provo, winning a WCC regular-season title and finishing with a 26-4 record and top-15 ranking in Associated Press polls.

But after the season, head coach Jeff Judkins announced his retirement after more than 20 years with the program, stepping down as the winningest basketball coach (men’s or women’s) in BYU history. This led to the hiring of former BYU guard Amber Whiting as the next head coach, and Gonzales announced his intention to enter the transfer portal within weeks.

Despite retaining former assistant coach Lee Cummard as associate head coach and returning former BYU standout Morgan Bailey as an assistant, Whiting – who previously struck up a relationship with Gonzales as as an alumni mentor – couldn’t keep one of the best players in the program. story who recovered from a devastating ACL injury ahead of his second season after leaving for the Power Five program bound for the Southeastern Conference no later than 2025.

“Thank you Cougar Nation, my family and my friends for showing me so much love and support,” Gonzales said upon his transfer. “BYU will always have a special place in my heart.”

Ranked in the top 10 nationally a year ago, Texas went 29-7 last year, including a 13-5 mark in Big 12 play before beating then-No. 4 Baylor for the Big 12 Tournament title. The Longhorns added NCAA Tournament wins over Fairfield, Utah and Ohio State before a 59-50 loss to No. 2 Stanford in the Elite Eight.

Since then, head coach Vic Schaefer’s team has hit the transfer portal, including the addition of former Texas Tech Khadija Faye and the transfer of DePaul and three-time All-Big East guard Sonya Morris before Gonzales’ engagement.

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A proud graduate of Syracuse University, Sean Walker has been covering BYU for since 2015, while blending prep sports, education and whatever his editors throw at him.

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